Tag Archives: Race-Ethnic-Religious Relations

Why saying “I don’t see race/gender/etc.” is offensive

You’re not being blind to people’s diversity; you’re turning a blind eye to their experiences.


You’ve seen the argument. Perhaps you’ve even made this argument yourself: “I don’t see race! I treat all people based on their skills and efforts.” Or its variant: “I prefer to see past [race/gender/etc.]; we’re all just people.” But this utopian idea is naïve, even harmful.

The problem with saying “I don’t see X” is two-fold: first, your belief that not “seeing” people for the diversity they represent makes you a good person. It doesn’t (and going about the world thinking you’re better than those who do actually makes things worse), but more on that in a bit. The second part — and the crux of this matter — is that not seeing people for their diversity of backgrounds means you’re actively and consciously ignoring the (historical and current) context of their lives.

It’s akin to telling someone who was wrongly imprisoned for thirty years, “hey, you’re out of jail now, so stop talking about it!” As if ex-convicts are not discriminated against or stigmatized in society, including those who were wrongly imprisoned.

Not every woman in today’s world grows up being subjected to bouts of sexism, or feeling repressed. Not every person of color feels they suffer racism on a daily basis. Not every person with a disability, or from a different class, or what-have-you, feels or even experiences the systemic discriminations against those like them, which exist whether they notice it or not. But every person who belongs to an identifiable group of any kind carries with them the context — and, in many ways, the associated burdens — of the discriminations against their group, both current and past.

People of color know that not too long ago they were treated very differently in society, and they know that some of that still happens today. Individuals among them may not notice the myriad effects on their lives, because it’s all they know and it’s how they grew up and so this is just normal life for them. But they, too, carry the historical context with them.

The same is true for women, who are the majority demographic of the planet and yet still routinely discriminated against, even actively oppressed in many nations (including our “progressive” Western countries). That doesn’t mean every single woman feels oppressed, but many women — and men — are well aware of it happening.

Image representing Marissa Mayer as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

It’s true for all marginalized demographics: for each, individuals exist who may not (consciously) feel these discriminations, but that doesn’t mean that on a systemic level they no longer exist, or that others belonging to those same groups don’t feel the discriminations either. Just because we have a Marissa Mayer or two running big companies doesn’t mean sexism is over, and the same is true for all the other -isms that collectively form our current society and its many systemic, intersectional discriminations of most groups of people.

When someone claims to not see people’s attributes, to look past characteristic X and Y, they’re saying they think these contexts of discrimination no longer matter, or no longer exist. The implication is that these people are not suffering from racism, sexism, ableism, classism, ageism, or any of these things anymore.

Whether that implication is intended or not, the claim that people can be cleanly separated from the context of their background is offensive, because it ignores and nullifies the significance of their lived experiences, which very well may include discriminations they endured (and are enduring today).

The argument of “not seeing X,” and presuming you are thus a good person, is actually a cop-out, a delusion against one’s own conscience: it is an attempt to excuse oneself of the responsibility to examine any complicity in these systemic discriminations. But society trains us all to be complicit in these discriminatory systems, hence why they are called systemic discriminations. There is no “they” in society who wield power and cast its ills upon the disenfranchised; “they” is us. We make society what it is, through our collective actions.

When too many people make the assertion that racism and sexism and all those issues no longer exist, through the argument of “not seeing X,” then it may cause some people to actually believe that, but it does nothing to solve the discriminations plaguing real people who suffer them. Worse, it hinders progress, as it asserts that no progress need be made anymore.

It’s time to put that argument to rest.



Written by

Designer, developer, entreprenerd. Creator of @Modernizr, co-founder of @Presentate. Improv comedian and social justice activist.




Ads Are Content Too

The problem isn’t we have advertisements. It’s that we aren’t doing a better job of delivering beneficial content.

Clutter. Clutter. Clutter. Clutter. Image overload. Ads galore. … This is why people miss the glory days of RSS (maybe the only reason).
MG Siegler, “Let It Full Bleed

Haven’t we had this conversation before? The problem with websites like TechCrunch, Facebook, Twitter, Mashable, and so on isn’t that they haven’t implemented that great unsolicited redesign yet. The visual design might be a problem in some cases, but I feel the larger problem is we’re still delivering ads the same way we did 20 years ago.

Ads are content too.

Do yourself a favor. Stop thinking of ads as some image thrown in the sidebar or header of a websites after you’ve painstakingly finished a design. Everything we place on our websites is content. We painstakingly craft the rest of our content. Why should that stop with ads we allow on our website? We need to craft more ads that are entertaining, informative, and helpful.

People don’t hate ads.

People share ads all the time. Like the Super Bowl ads every year. Or this older commercial from Old Spice. Or Chiptole’s amazing animation “The Scarecrow” from earlier this year.

People don’t hate ads. They hate irrelevant content. They hate boring content. They hate wasting their time with misguiding content, whether intentional or not. This is why the most popular Chrome extension is AdBlock, boasting over 15 million users. Users hate being misled.

Ah! I see you’re trying to guilt me into whitelisting your websites.

We’ve created this mess. Let’s start thinking of better ways we can deliver beneficial services and products to our users.

View story at Medium.com


Fan Speak: I hate my life

I have an acquaintance who loves a team that has a long history of winning in football. They haven’t done well this year and one weekend they lost to one of the historically bad teams in their conference. I say historically bad because they are actually good this year but in a fan’s mind they just lost to the bottom of the totem pole which is apparently devastating.

This acquaintance and I bumped into each other and they said, “I hate my life.” What a drama queen.
I responded, “Don’t you mean you hate the team that beat yours?”
Sad acquaintance said, “No because they aren’t that great!”
Trying to bring logic to the person disillusioned, “Ok, well don’t you mean you hate your team?
In total denial, “No, NEVER! I love them.”
Digging deeper, “Well the other team is actually pretty good! I know some of the coaches and honestly they are really great!”
Odd reply coming, “I know! I want the other team’s coach!”
Again, trying to clarify, “So you hate your life instead of the outcome or the team? Are you worried you’ll lose your job now? You know, because you lost?”
Not sure how to respond, “well….it was horrible… I didn’t….uh… you… never mind I’m just upset!”
I yelled as they stormed off, “It could be worse,gain some perspective!”

I love being a coach’s wife. I like that people in everyday life, work, church, school, and more know that about me. You know why?


keep reading -> https://medium.com/the-coaching-life/9a6faa07b04